Campaign

Romney tells insiders he’s running for Senate: report

Getty

Mitt Romney has informed a top businessman in Utah that he is running for the Senate seat held by retiring Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), The New York Times reports.

The local business leader, Kem Gardner, phoned Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) to inform him of a text message he received from Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, according to the newspaper.

“I’m running,” the text read.

The call reportedly came after Herbert told Gardner he was anxious about finding a candidate for Hatch’s seat in the event Romney decided not to run.

“Let’s not be coy about this,” Herbert said he told Gardner, according to the Times. “If he’s going to run, let’s go. If not, we need to find somebody else to run, and there’s people that have been trying to queue up for the opportunity.”

{mosads}

The former Massachusetts governor is reportedly the favored candidate of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and has spoken to the Kentucky Republican in past months about running.

Romney, who has positioned himself as an anti-Trump conservative, urged Republicans to reject President Trump during the 2016 GOP primary. 

Trump had reportedly urged Hatch to seek another term in 2018 as a way to block Romney from running.

But Herbert dismissed tensions between Trump and Romney.

“I think there is a willingness on both sides to say, ‘Look, we may disagree on stuff, we may have problems from our past, but what we ought to be looking toward is our future,’ ” Herbert told the Times.

Romney was under consideration last year to be Trump’s secretary of State and dined with Trump before the job eventually went to Rex Tillerson.

The 2012 GOP nominee will also likely be boosted by the support of Hatch, who pointed to Romney as his favored replacement last year.

“I’ve expressed interest to him,” Hatch said last year. “I can see why he might not want to do it, but I can also see why if he did it, it would be a great thing for America.”

Hatch has served as Utah’s senator since 1977. The state last elected a Democrat to the Senate in 1959.

Tags campaign Donald Trump Donald Trump Mitch McConnell Mitch McConnell Mitt Romney Mitt Romney Orrin Hatch Orrin Hatch Republican Party Rex Tillerson Senate Utah
See all Hill.TV See all Video